Putting their mark on the G-Shock marque

Four Thai street artists have custom-designed their own limited-edition versions of an iconic watch

The durability of G-Shock watches is truly a feat. First introduced in 1983 and manufactured by Casio, G-Shock has stood the test of time, not to mention passing fashions and fads, partially due to its hard-wearing construction and its functionality. Its creative edge has also helped propel the brand to its current esteemed status.

The quartet who dare to dabble with Father Time, from left, Nolanolee, Rukkit, Alex Face and Kobored.

Recently, some arty locals were invited to collaborate with the legendary watch brand and come up with some new cutting-edge designs for the timepiece. As part of the “Siam Manudstreet” campaign, four Thai street artists — Alex Face, Kobored, Nolanolee and Rukkit — have custom-designed their own limited-edition G-Shock watches, which will come with distinctive packaging and premium gifts.

“Siam Manudstreet” (manud is Thai for “human”) was inspired by a poem entitled Siam Manusati composed by King Rama VI during the First World War. Only 250 copies are being produced of each artist’s timepiece design, so queues of dedicated fans are probably already forming up.

The artists first chose the models of G-Shock they wanted to work with and then went on to design additional aesthetic elements. Graffiti-art luminary Alex Face confessed to never having worn a watch before he was commissioned to come up with a G-Shock design.

“All G-Shocks are different and they have many detailed specifications. You just have to know it. It’s quite fascinating,” Kobored enthused.

While Alex Face works mostly on a large scale and with murals, Kobored usually plays with site-specific works or visual mapping. Nolanolee, the only female in the bunch, delivers cute character designs, while Rukkit operates within the realm of graphical geometry. Asked if the considerably smaller space they have been given to work with imposed any design limitations on them, Alex was quick to reply. “The sizes are just scales. You always design according to the space given to you. But your creativity is never, ever limited,” he said.

For his design, Alex has stuck with a “Time Bomb” theme, but given the “bomb” element a double entendre.

“People often look at me as only a graffiti artist who likes to ‘bomb’ buildings and empty public spaces. You know, the entire ‘bombing’ culture that is attached to the graffiti scene. Also, Bangkok has been rumoured to have bombs here and there lately, so I feel that ‘time bomb’ is fitting in all contexts that I’m mostly concerned about these days,” he said.

Rukkit’s “Black Panther” design deals mainly with the transparency of his selected model. “Mine is quite detail-oriented,” he said. “Panthers blend very well with the darkness, but once lights shine on or flicker across their bodies, you see many other things. My packaging is also [made] of acrylic so it’s transparent.”

Kobored is known for his love of all things camouflage and military-related, of which he is an avid collector. One G-Shock model caught his eye and when he did some research he discovered that it had been designed especially for the military — and so he was able to sticks with his favourite theme.

Nolanolee approached her watch-design task with the fighting spirit of a boxer or a sporting champion. “I think about time and the concept of time a lot,” she said. “Everyone has fought at some point for something they believe in. Now, more than every, it’s time to fight... fight for your dreams. The championship belt seen on the character [in her timepiece design] signifies the reward awaiting those who fight the good fight.”

Coincidentally or not, all four artists seem to have gravitated towards the same theme with a rather obvious nod to the recent political turmoil.

“We work within the realm of the arts and we must reflect [what’s happening in] society,” Alex Face observed. “That’s what the arts do: capturing the moment, the atmosphere of the times. We live here, so we’ve been touched by the current situation in one way or another. You can’t avoid it.”

All four watch editions will be available at special launch events only. Kobored’s G-Shock design will be launched on July 20 in Chiang Mai. Visit www.facebook.com/casio.thailand.

Alex Face’s design.

Nolanolee’s brainwave.

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